SAFEAgent 

Norfolk Property Management and Letting are members of SafeAgent 

This week, 3,000 lettings agents across the UK will promote SAFEagent Awareness Week.

The aim is to highlight to consumers the importance of choosing an agent which is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme run by a regulatory organisation.

The Government has just released its much anticipated Housing "White Paper".

The document outlines their plans to mend the "broken" housing market, make all types of homes more affordable, create more affordable housing, and more security for renters.

The buy to let mortgage market has suffered something of a battering in recent months but now Post Office Money is launching a new range of products on Friday, aimed at first-time landlords or those with small portfolios. The lender says its latest products are designed for those buying their first rental property, or for someone who wants to own one or two such properties. The new rates start from 1.93 per cent for a two-year fixed loan at 70 per cent Loan to Value with a £995 fee.

There was a significant rise in the amount buy-to-let landlords borrowed to invest in property before the introduction of new affordability tests brought in at the start of this month ahead of changes to tax relief from April this year, new figures show.Landlords borrowed £3.2bn in November 2016, up 10% month-on-month, but down 9% year-on-year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said.

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) Consultation on landlord ‘affordability’ management is being implemented as guidance to lenders from the 1st of January.the clock is ticking

The PRA are requiring Buy to Let lenders to take into account borrower’s increased tax liabilities due to Section 24 mortgage interest relief reductions and other outgoings when assessing the amount of loan requested.

Landlords and buy-to-let investors appear to have returned to the market following the post-Stamp Duty lull in April, Rightmove has claimed.

The portal’s Rental Trends Tracker for the third quarter of 2016 found that buyer enquiries from potential landlords and investors are now up 30% since May, following a short-term dip as additional Stamp Duty charges came in on April 1.

House price inflation continued to slow in September, Halifax has revealed. House prices did go up last month, but by just 0.1% on August.

The lender’s latest house price index recorded average prices at £214,024 for September, up 5.8% annually, which is down from 6.9% in August.

According to the latest report from mortgage industry tech supplier, IRESS, the buy to let sector continues to go from strength to strength, seeing a 49% increase in buy to let compared with it's 2015 Survey.

The UK will avoid a severe recession and a house price crash following the Brexit vote, PricewaterhouseCoopers has said.

It believes that there will be a marked slowdown in house price growth, but no major crash.

According to new research from the National Landlords Association, 30% of landlords are still undecided about whether they will vote to leave or remain in the upcoming referendum on the European Union.

Renting guide

According to the Office of Nation Statistics 36% of households in England and Wales were rented rather than owner-occupied. Being a tenant is widely accepted as a viable alternative to home ownership, particularly among those who may not yet be willing or able to consider buying a permanent home. Renting a property should be an enjoyable experience and for those who are new to the process this renting guide will explain what to look out for with these 10 renting property tips.

By performing a big spring clean and sorting your stuff out before you plan to move, you’ll not only save time and money but also your sanity!

 

The rental market has once again demonstrated consistent growth across 2015, paving the way for a solid 2016, despite a number of changes set to be introduced in the coming twelve months.

Our November Rental Index showed the market has experienced significant annual growth in 2015. As of November 2015, the average UK rental value – excluding London – stood at £743, an increase of 3.8% compared against last November's figure of £718. This growth is consistent across the country, with nine out of twelve regions demonstrating an increase in rental prices on an annual basis.

Unsurprisingly, growth across London this year was particularly high, with rents in the capital now 108% higher than the rest of the UK. Reflecting on the year as a whole, annual rental growth in Greater London has slowed from a peak of 12% in January 2015 to 6% by September, our latest figures show.

Demand for rental property continues to grow, and looks as if it won’t falter any time soon. In the past year, house prices have risen by £20,000 on average, tipping the house value scale to an average of £287,000, according to Rightmove.

The portal has also predicted that during 2016, house prices will increase by a further £17,000; possibly making it increasingly more challenging for first-time buyers to save a sufficient deposit, meaning they could be likely to remain tenants or, if they aren't already, turn to renting instead.

This shift of potential home owners into the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has increased the size of the rental market exponentially in the past decade or so. Back in 2001 there were 2.3 million private renters in the UK, increasing to 5.4 million in 2014. Sector growth doesn't look like it’ll stop there, either. In the next ten years, global business firm PwC has estimated that a further 1.8 million people will rent privately, meaning that half of all UK residents will form part of the PRS.

The recently released Autumn 2015 Rent Check by Allsop reflects this estimated increase in the number of UK tenants. In the survey, 41% of landlords claimed that there has been a definite increase in tenant demand in the last six months alone. This is of course a positive situation for letting agents and landlords, as it means that there will be a larger pool of potential tenants looking to snap up each rental property, minimising void periods.

Looking again to 2016, tenant demand doesn’t look as if it is going to subside anytime soon. That said, some tenants may find their search for a rental home more difficult as a consequence of recent stamp duty changes.

In the latest Autumn Statement, the Chancellor George Osborne announced that as of April 2016, all buy-to-let investors and second-home owners will pay an additional 3% stamp duty tax when they purchase a property.

Potential investors can and still will benefit from incredibly low interest rates, which have been at a low of 0.5% since March 2009, making it cheaper to borrow; going some way to counteracting the tax increase.

These changes will have consequences for the rental market as a whole, though. Between now and April 2016, there will be a 'rush to buy', according to a property commentator from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The general trend in the rental market is that prices will continue to increase in the New Year, although growth may not be recorded at quite the same pace.

 

 

 

There is resounding new evidence that buy-to-let investors are ramping up activity as they try to beat the April 1 Stamp Duty surcharge deadline.

Also, more individuals appear to have turned themselves into companies in order to be exempt from an earlier clampdown announced by George Osborne last year.

According to specialist broker Mortgages for Business, limited companies accounted for 43% of all buy-to-let cases in January – up from 38% at the start of the year.

Overall buy-to-let applications were up 27% in January from the month before.

From April 1, a 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge will be levied on the purchasers of second homes, including buy-to-let properties.

 

Also looming is the start of the phased introduction by which landlords’ ability to offset mortgage interest against tax is to be cut to the lowest rate. However, buy-to-let companies will be exempt from this.

Right to rent………

 

From Monday 1st February 2016 it became compulsory for all landlords in England to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property.

However, research shows that the majority of landlords have not received any information from the Government. Therefore the Right to Rent scheme has been criticised as most landlords are not prepared for the new legislation.

Under the new rules, landlords who fail to check a potential tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.

But Right to Rent, which was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the Government’s reforms ‘to build a fairer and more effective immigration system’, has been criticised after it was revealed that most landlords are still not prepared for the new legislation. 

“There has been an influx of new legislation relating to the rental market made in recent years and we know that UK landlords are struggling to keep on top of these changes. Despite knowing many of the basics, many find it difficult to navigate the minefield of changing renting rights and wrongs and this is particularly so for accidental landlords.

A new survey from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) reveals that 90 per cent of landlords have received no information from the Government about the new Right to Rent scheme, the first phase of which was launched in parts of the West Midlands in December, while almost three quarters of the 1,500 landlords surveyed did not know what the rules obliged them to do.

Right to Rent is about deterring those who are illegally resident from remaining in the UK. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected.

“Under Right to Rent, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. The scheme has been designed to make it straightforward for people to give evidence of their right to rent and a range of commonly available documents can be used.” 

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Here at Norfolk Property Management we have recently witnessed the official switch on of the Christmas lights in the City Centre, the winter hats and scarves are out due to the dramatic change in temperature and the shops are buzzing with the early Christmas shoppers! We are equally busy at this time of year and are proud to announce that we are due to make a record month for introducing suitable tenants to available properties in November!

So this means we need more properties to for fill our current high demand! Yes, there are plenty of prospective tenants still looking even with the Christmas countdown looming. 

If you are currently thinking of letting your property please do not hesitate to contact us. We are feeling Merry with all of this early Christmas cheer and are happy to offer a discount for any new instruction that we introduce a suitable tenant for within the month of December! 

Also if you are a tenant and can recommend us to a landlord that you know of, we are more than happy to award you with discounted administration fees to say a huge thank you for your support!

Or perhaps you are a current landlord and feel like you would benefit from our expertise in the field of Lettings and Management? Please feel free to arrange a suitable time for us to go over all of the new legislations that apply, or simply refresh you on the world of renting and protecting your most precious asset. Why not combine your Christmas shopping trip with a stop off for a festive egg-nog latte and traditional mince pie whilst we chat it over. 

Being our core business, we fully dedicate ourselves in looking after all of our landlords and tenants to the best of our ability around the clock,

We look forward to hearing from you soon and may your countdown to Christmas be the most stress free in all areas.

 

Like we say, you’re never too old to trick or treat! But, for those of you who would like a less strenuous night, there’s lots of things to do in Norfolk in this scary month!

 

Why not try Primevil at The Dinosaur Park? With different activities to do around the park, there’s something for everyone! Innocent Woodland paths have become twisted mazes and the hungry horrors are after revenge. Will you come out alive, become part of their new freak show or be dinner?!!

Visit http://www.primevil-scare.com/ for more information.

 

 

If being frightened half to death isn’t quite your thing, then why not try a Halloween inspired meal at The Maids Head? Enjoy a 3 course meal whilst resolving the murder. Will you be a super sleuth? 

Visit http://maidsheadhotel.co.uk/events for more information.

 

 

Or if neither of the above suit your witches wishes, why not try a spooky ghost walk through Norwich?

The 2015 Halloween specials will follow the established format of brand new stories from around Britain told in an area around the 'Cow Tower' on the riverside park. 

Take a look at http://www.ghostwalksnorwich.co.uk/11.html for more information.

 

 

Having just moved house, for the 4th time in 2 years – I am one person who can most definitely sympathise with the worries and stresses that come with the motions of moving. Here’s a few things I’ve learnt over my last 4 moves.

  • THROW IT AWAY. We all have those boxes, you know the ones; that haven’t been unpacked from the previous move. – Throw it all away! If it hasn’t been used in 12 months, then you don’t really need it, do you?
  • Pack your belongings, room by room! I cannot stress this enough. There is nothing worse than throwing bits from here, there and everywhere into one box that will need to be unpacked the kitchen, bathroom, loft and garden in your new property. Labelling is key!
  • Use what you have! Boxes can be expensive, especially for the one use that you’re going to get out of them! Try to use your laundry bin, wicker baskets and picnic boxes for anything you can! If they don’t have lids – use cling film to secure the top!
  • Pack an overnight bag! Oh my goodness, the morning of moving, you will be all over the place! Don’t make the experience more difficult by having to search through packed and sealed boxes for a hairband, or your fave mascara! Put everything you use on a daily basis into an overnight bag you can dive into the morning of, and the next day in the property when you haven’t yet had time to unpack! (Which you won’t have – trust me.)
  • Aside from the overnight bag – pack the things you will need straight away into a clear box! – what can be worse, than the next morning, needing the kitchen roll because you’ve spilt your coffee; and it being buried beneath pots, pans, cutlery… but you not knowing which box it is in! (Especially if you haven’t abided by number 2)
  • Lastly, but most certainly not least, ENJOY IT. Yes, moving is stressful, yes you lose things, yes you break things… but you’re starting a new chapter! Good luck, and try to live each moment as it comes, after all, its only moving, you will inevitably do it again at some point!

Guest Blog - How to make your home attractive to potential tenants

If you are thinking about renting out your property, you need to make it as appealing as possible to potential tenants. There are certain things that renters look for when viewing a property and a savvy landlord will make sure some of these aspects are included in their property. Ultimately, high demand for your house means a better choice of tenant and a higher achievable rent.  

Below you will find a list of things you can try to make your home stand out from the crowd and look attractive to potential renters:

 

Clean

For a lot of tenants, a first impressions are crucial. A dirty property filled with lingering smells, dusty surfaces, old curtains and poorly-kept furniture indicates that the owner has not spent time caring for the property, which could mean hidden problems. Perceptions are everything. 

A good once over with a duster, mop and kitchen cleaner can do the world of good and help your prospective tenant imagine themselves in the property. 

Declutter

Tenants like to see a property as a blank canvas. They won’t want to see all your personal items taking up space on the walls and in display cases. Even if you are renting your property as furnished, just furnish it with the essentials e.g.: sofa, washing machine, fridge etc. Perhaps avoid pictures with your great grandmother and hundreds of pictures of your children!

 

Smells

It is hard to know what your home smells like, as you quickly get used to it. Buying diffusers or plug-in air fresheners is an inexpensive way to make sure you present a fresh home and this will be especially important if you have had pets living in the property.

 

Decorations

The property should look ready to live in. If you can spare the time, you should re-decorate to neutral colours so that it looks clean, spacious and ready for occupation. It is amazing what a lick of paint can do. Neutral colours will really brighten up your property and make it a lot more appealing to potential renters. 

 

Dress to impress

This will apply to the interior and exterior of the property. Inside you could put a vase full of fresh flowers and a bowl of fruit in the kitchen. Little touches can bring your property to life. 

Planting flowers outside and cleaning up the garden will really impress potential renters. Keep paths weed-free and watch out for those over grown shrubs.

 

Security

Tenants will want to feel safe, so installing a motion detector outdoor light and a functioning alarm system will do the job. Check all the locks as well, a set of patio doors with a lock which barely holds them closed will give the wrong impression of your diligence as a landlord. 

 

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When you have ticked these points off of your list, you should go around and check that all the appliances are clean and are all working. Just check and check again. You need to give a good first impression and first impressions count for everything – so don’t miss the opportunity to present your property at its very best.  

 

 

About the author

The Right Surveyors are a group of chartered surveying practices with offices all over England and Wales dedicated to providing you with surveys, valuations and advice. Our surveying coverage extends from Truro to Newcastle, Bristol to Stoke and almost everywhere in between.

Check out how we work at the Right Surveyors website.

 

This week the Government made two key announcements that will affect landlords in England.

 

The new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm regulations have been approved and come into affect on 1 October 2015.

 

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On Monday (14/09/15) Parliament approved the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. This means that from 1 October all landlords in England will be required to:

 

1) Have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their property.

 

2) Have at least one carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (eg a coal fire, wood burning stove).

 

3) Make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

 

This last point is particularly important for agents who offer a full management or tenant check-in service on behalf of landlord clients, as agents may be required to check the alarms on the landlords behalf.

 

UKALA recommends that agents make it clear in their terms and conditions who is responsible for checking the alarms. If the agent is responsible, consider what evidence is appropriate to be able to prove that a check was carried out, if necessary. For example, if the tenant is present during check-in, a record of the check could be included in the inventory or check-in, to be signed by the tenant.

 

 

All new requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

 

ALSO READ MORE IN OUR NEWSLETTER WHICH WILL BE COMING OUT THIS EVENING.